In Poland and Russia, where 30% and 34% of persons use ordinary mobile phones, respectively, the percentage of smartphone ownership is substantially lower, at 63 and 59 percent. However, Canada is a remarkable anomaly among advanced countries, with one-quarter of the population not owning a mobile phone. The most likely explanation is affordability: according to OECD data, Canadian households have the highest average cost of cellular service among all members of the organization.
Canada is a remarkable anomaly among advanced countries, with one-quarter of the population not owning a cell phone. And, despite the country's fascination with high-tech devices, Japan has a comparatively low proportion of smartphone ownership, at 66 percent.
The most common explanation for Canada's low rate of mobile phone ownership is that we have a high percentage of people who are "mobile" only through text messaging, as most Canadians own both a cell phone and a personal computer. But there are other factors at work. The Canadian government has been aggressive in promoting "wireless openness," which allows anyone to set up a wireless network for public use, but this program has not had much success so far.
There are several countries where I can't even get a signal with my phone, so it's clear that technology isn't the only reason why people don't own phones. In many of these countries, lack of access to the internet is becoming a more important factor as they develop their digital economies. Nigeria, for example, has some of the worst connectivity in Africa, yet almost no one owns a phone due to expense.
These are all poor countries that I'm talking about, which shows that income level is not the only factor that determines mobile phone ownership. There are also rich countries where people don't own phones.
Mobile phone ownership across time The great majority of Americans—97 percent—now own some type of cellphone. The percentage of Americans who possess a smartphone has risen to 85 percent, up from 35 percent in the Pew Research Center's first poll on smartphone ownership in 2011. Other types of cellphones include traditional landlines, which account for 3 percent of American homes; personal computers, which 2 percent of homes contain; and pay phones, which 1 percent of homes use.
The share of households with mobile phones has increased over time. In 1990, just 65 percent of households had a phone, compared with 97 percent now. At that same point, only 40 percent of households had a smartphone, compared with 85 percent now.
These trends are reflected in several recent surveys of mobile phone usage. For example, the National Association of Consumer Advocates found that 95 percent of American households owned a phone in 2013, compared with just 65 percent in 1997.
The number of people per household also has been on the rise. In 1980, there were 2.9 people per household; by 2000, that had more than tripled to 10.1. There are now almost one person per household at risk of losing their phone.
In conclusion, the vast majority of American households own a phone, and even more have a smartphone. This represents a tremendous advancement for technology and for consumers' access to information.
South Korea is the world leader in smartphone adoption; it is the only country where every adult possesses a smartphone. It's a similar story in Israel, the Netherlands, and Sweden, where more than 85 percent of adults own cellphones and only 2 percent do not. In fact, the only countries that come close are South Korea and China, which have virtually identical rates of smartphone ownership: 99 percent of adults in each country have access to a mobile phone.
The high rate of smartphone ownership in South Korea is likely due to its first-mover status in terms of smartphone technology. The country was one of the first to launch apps, online stores, and other services designed specifically for smartphones. As a result, most people there prefer to buy their products at app-based stores such as Google Play and Apple Store rather than traditional retailers such as Samsung or LG.
In addition, South Koreans use their phones for more than just making calls. They also rely on them for social media, shopping, banking, education, health care, and much more. Given this heavy usage, it isn't surprising that 95 percent of South Korean households possess a computer and 87 percent have a television. Also, like many other countries, smartphones have become an integral part of daily life in South Korea and many others around the world.
The use of mobile phones has been linked to an awareness of how swiftly a country's economy is rising. The Korean Democratic Republic has the second-lowest smartphone use per capita. North Korean People's Republic In 2018, just 27% of Central Africans owned cellphones.
Almost half (46%) of Central Africans are yet to buy a cell phone, according to statistics from global information company Statista. This is more than twice as many as people who cannot afford a phone (21%).
Almost one in five (18%) Central Africans have no access to a telephone line, preventing them from using smartphones or other wireless devices such as tablets.
In terms of percentage of population with mobile phones, South Africa has the highest rate in Africa, at 93%. Egypt has the lowest rate on the continent, at 20%.
Mobile phone usage is very high in South Africa and Ethiopia, both of which have large numbers of people who cannot read or write. Only 5% and 1% of citizens, respectively, are considered highly informed.
In contrast, almost all Central Africans are considered highly informed, with 99% saying they are very or fairly well educated.
There are wide differences between countries within regions. For example, some countries in Middle East and North Africa have smartphone adoption rates below 30%, while others are at 90%.
According to new Gallup World Poll statistics, 83 percent of individuals in emerging economies own a mobile phone in 2018. This is fantastic news for development since mobile phones help link people to the employment, business opportunities, and services they require to transcend poverty. Nonetheless, digital gaps exist. Only 7 percent of people in developed countries have smartphones, compared with 76 percent in emerging markets.
Mobile phones have had a dramatic impact on developing countries, changing how governments function, how businesses operate, and most importantly, how individuals live their lives. In fact, according to Google, every other second, someone in India uses its search engine. In Brazil, it's Russia with its Gazprom office server. In the United States, it's Mexico with its main office server.
The figures show that there are still major challenges to providing mobile phone access in less developed countries. The price of smartphones is too high for many people who would love to use them but can't afford them. At the same time, the quality of service provided by mobile network operators varies significantly across the world. In some countries there are far more mobile phone users than there are available base stations, which means that at times of high demand, such as during evening hours or when it rains, people experience delays or connections to send messages or use the internet may be impossible.
However, despite these difficulties, the evidence shows that mobile phones can be a tool for development if they are used properly.